The construction industry is one of the largest in the UK and is responsible for around 3 million jobs across the country. Typically, construction trades are particularly sensitive to economic fluctuations but despite the recession of 2008, still contributes around £90 billion to the the UK market. The construction and engineering sectors are continuing to recover from the economic downturn and recruitment of staff is expected to increase by around 7% over the next few years. The sector concerns itself with building work, civil engineering and can even be as broad as HR, manufacturing and sales.
The industry is supported by a range of construction recruitment agencies aiming to provide clients with effective staffing solutions by supplying the most capable candidates to fill permanent or temporary vacancies. These could be in roles ranging from project manager to rail engineer. With the expected increase, admin and secretarial recruitment agencies are also expecting to see requirements for more office based and clerical staff.
Construction and engineering work is generally labour intensive and personnel are expected to have a certain level of physical fitness. Job titles can vary from high paying management positions such as a design or planning manager to more manual labour jobs like bricklayer and plumber. In the UK, those at the high end of the scale can earn a salary of anything to up £80K, with the average generally being in excess of £30K.
The most common route into the construction and engineering sectors is non-graduate with many jobs being considered low skilled. More technical and administrative work such as a maintenance engineer will require a degree level or higher qualification. Most trades have associated NVQ qualifications ranging from level 3 to level 7 whereas the NEBOSH qualification in health and safety is also recommended.
Work in the construction industry can mean long and infrequent hours, often focusing on more than one project, so candidates have to be flexible and adaptable. Staff are also expected to work under labour intensive exhaustive conditions while also working as part of a team.
The largest construction employers in the UK are currently Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Laing O'Rourke although majority of businesses are small to medium sized firms and vacancies are fairly easy to come by. Despite the high level of recruitment, many believe that that the best way into the field of construction and engineering is to become self employed.